Horse-Training Essentials: Riding Good Corners

In Part 1 of this horse-training series, discover the common problems that lead to a sloppy corner in your horsemanship pattern.

We use corners a lot in horsemanship patterns at the bigger shows because the maneuver clearly shows correct “guide” in the horse. If a horse isn’t right on the rider’s aids, he won’t turn as well or will turn too much.

For the rider, it teaches focus. As the rider, you must visualize the turn and know where you are going. Remember, your rein aids control the shoulder forward, and your leg controls the rib cage and hip.

First, you have to think “straight” - ride the horse into the bridle by keeping his body straight.

Then when you go to turn (say, to the left), you look, close your inside leg, the outside rein goes on the neck with a strong outside leg, and the horse moves hard to the left. It’s very immediate.

This is only one of several horse-training exercises available to you on America’s Horse Daily. Download AQHA’s Borrow a Horse Trainer report so you can discover other activities to work on with your favorite equine pal!

Your inside leg should be right under your hip, supporting and holding the rib cage steady and keeping the inside shoulder from falling in.

Your outside leg is also underneath your hip. But it closes the door on the ribs and the hip to say, “Get over.” With a lighter horse, you apply it with your calf; with a dull horse, you may need your spur. It depends on the horse.

The outside aids control the movement and are dominant, but you must keep the inside leg at the girth to keep the shoulder from dropping. Your rein aid can be subtle as long as the horse gets off your outside leg.

Don’t worry. Once you master good corners, we have more horse-training exercises where that came from! Download AQHA’s Borrow a Horse Trainer report for 11 exercises that will have you and your horse looking great

As you ride the turn, you don’t look two or three strides ahead like you do when you are loping a circle. You ride straight ahead, looking ahead. You think of your corner, then look immediately left and apply your aids. It’s very quick, and the horse will pick up on it right away. You’re training him to follow your feel.

In Part 2 of this series, we’ll discuss how the spiraled squares exercise can help you ride good corners in your next horsemanship class.